Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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Page 17 of 69

16 Today's Veterinary Business Business door selections can directly impact building energy needs and occu- pant comfort levels. Daylight Harvesting A window is a good example of us- ing free, natural light to illuminate a building's interior. Getting good daylight into rooms is fairly easy with an exterior wall, but we work to bring daylight to interior space, too. The more you can use the sun without undue solar heat gain, the less you'll need artificial light. About 44 percent of standard building energy use is related to lighting. Smart Solar In keeping with daylight harvesting, capturing energy is much better than purchasing it. Solar panels generate electricity that can power light fixtures. These tend to be expensive systems, and solar power can have a long payback period in areas without robust incentive pro- grams. Solar panels are, at best, less than 30 percent efficient. Instead, light tubes — a kind of skylight — are 100 percent efficient and far less expensive. I prefer light tubes over skylights because they deliver virtually no solar heat gain. Yes, solar electricity can power other things, too, but realize that air conditioning typically makes up 24 percent of overall energy use, far less than lighting. Having said that, solar panels can make a lot of sense in places that offer generous incentive programs. The breakeven period can be as short as four years in some parts of the United States. Light Fixtures When it comes to artificial light- ing, the widespread use of LEDs (light-emitting diodes) has reduced power needs more than any other current building technology. The growing variety of fixture types and falling prices mean there is no rea- son to use any other kind of fixture today. Even on minor renovation projects, we convert as many light fixtures as possible to LED. Automatic Regulators Light controls such as occupancy sensors are useful in non-clinical and housing areas. In fact, most energy codes require them. Delivery Costs Assuming equal performance, lo- cally sourced construction materi- als are better. Transportation is the second biggest user of energy, so minimize where you can. More Layers I recommend insulating buildings beyond energy code minimums. Up to a point, more insulation is a small expense relative to the impact. A high-performing exterior shell is an upgrade that keeps on giving. Plug Holes Air sealing is an often-overlooked advantage. In a new, standard Constructive Criticism columnist Paul Gladysz is the principal architect at BDA Architecture. The Albuquerque, New Mexico, firm specializes in the planning, design and construction of animal care facilities. Business CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 code-compliant building, you lose more energy to air leakage than through roof and wall insulation. Making sure the shell is airtight improves a building's performance and, when properly done, the indoor air quality, too. Equipment Selection Things like efficient domestic water heaters, Energy Star appliances and low-power IT systems will have as much an impact as a high- efficiency air conditioner. Water Savings Some veterinary practices, espe- cially those that offer boarding and grooming services, can use a lot of water. Low-pressure wash and vacuum systems will reduce water consumption considerably. Recyclability For parts of a building that would reasonably be replaced as part of normal wear and tear, we select op- tions that can be recycled. Finishes, casework, furniture and fixtures that would be upgraded after perhaps 10 or 15 years should be made of recyclable materials and not be sent to landfills. Carbon Neutral and Robust Finally, I want to introduce resil- iency, a concept closely related to sustainability and one that is gain- ing momentum in the architectural profession. Resiliency means mak- ing structures not only more car- bon neutral but also more robust. A building that can withstand natural disasters is more earth friendly than one that must be rebuilt. Mak- ing structures resistant to wind, water and fire damage and keeping them operational is the goal. For example, my firm has a client in the Florida Keys. When Hurricane Irma devastated the central Keys in September 2017, the veterinary practice remained intact even when the client's house was destroyed. Installation of a self-contained backup generator helps such a prac- tice to not only survive but to be a refuge for people and pets alike. Ar- chitects are focusing much more on making buildings less disposable. What makes a building resil- ient is very location dependent. A building that is hurricane and tornado resistant is quite different from one designed to survive a wildfire. In general, we look for ma- terials and building systems that hold up over time, are low impact and are good neighbors. As architects, we have an obligation not only to our clients but to the community and world at large. We work to guide clients along that path. A row of exam rooms built with translucent walls receives natural light through exterior windows. A metal screen installed over a hallway diffuses sunlight, sending soft, natural illumination into interior space. Do you have any questions for Paul Gladysz about designing or building a veterinary hospital? What other topics would you like covered in Constructive Criticism? Email your ideas to WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW? 10 11 12

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